Your pet is perfect, right? While his or her big, brown eyes and unconditional love may be irreplaceable, most pets do have a behavior or two that they struggle with. Read on for a handy guide for troubleshooting three of the top dog training struggles that pet owners encounter.

Housebreaking Woes

New pet owners often expect their new pet to come home housetrained. While most dogs learn to go outside, teaching your new dog to eliminate outdoors can be more difficult than it might seem. And certain breeds and temperaments are notoriously difficult to housebreak.  

If you are having trouble training your pet to go outside, consider the following:

Reign your pup in – The bigger the area your new pup is allowed to move around in, the more difficult housetraining is likely to be. Try keeping your pup nearby and consider crate training.

Change the diet – If poop is the problem, diet may be somewhat to blame. Certain types of diets, as well as the frequency of feeding, can change how much and how often your pet needs to go. Changing it up may help the process. Remember to always transition your pet to a new diet over a week or more to prevent tummy upset.

Amp up the supervision – There is no easy way around it, new pets need attention. You must take your pet out frequently (hourly or more) at first. You may need to supervise your dog while outdoors to be sure that he or she is not being distracted. Get into a schedule and reinforce it.

It is also important to look at the age and maturity of your pet and assess whether your expectations are reasonable. If your dog is not making adequate progress housetraining, please let us know. We may need to rule out a medical cause for your training issues.

Nipping and Aggressive Play

It’s all fun and games until someone gets hurt, and dogs are no exception to this rule. Dogs use their mouths for playing, chewing, and exploring. Sometimes they may take this to an unacceptable level.

If you are starting out with a puppy, it is important to teach him or her that biting and nipping is not acceptable. When playing with your puppy:

  • Make a loud yelp if he or she bites to startle the pup
  • Praise your puppy for stopping the behavior
  • If your puppy does not react to yelping, consider a short timeout
  • Give your puppy appropriate items to chew on to distract the behavior
  • Encourage play that does not involve contact such as fetch

If you have an adult dog who exhibits this type of behavior, things can be a little more tricky. Adult dogs may nip to play, but it can also be a precursor to more aggressive behavior. If you suspect your dog may be showing aggressive tendencies, it is best to seek help.

Destructive Behavior and Dog Training Struggles

It is no fun to come home from the grocery store to find your couch ripped to shreds. Dogs may show destructive behavior for many reasons. It is vital to figure out why your pet is acting out. He or she may be:

  • Suffering from separation anxiety
  • Need more mental stimulation
  • Need more physical stimulation

Destructive behavior can be dangerous and frustrating. Most dogs are safest in a crate environment while you’re out. Be sure that your dog is getting enough exercise and interaction throughout the day. If you think that your dog may have separation anxiety, let us know. We can offer techniques that may be of help and discuss medication if necessary.

Having a dog is an enriching and fulfilling experience. Just like children, though, they do take time and effort, especially when young. If you are having problems with your pet or would just like to get him or her off to a good start, please let us know. Our certified trainers are happy to help you.